|11-06-2007, 01:54 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Midseason All-Pro Team
Midseason All-Pro Team
By Keith Schleiden
Nov. 6, 2007
An interesting blend of old reliables and new faces comprise Pro Football Weekly’s annual honors squad halfway through the 2007 season. While the old standbys — think Tom Brady and Randy Moss — are doing some rather spectacular things, it’s the youth, including three rookies, on this team that will really open up some eyes around the NFL. To build this team, we relied heavily on the input of NFL insiders who study pro personnel on a daily basis. Below, you will find the entire team, which was voted on by the PFW editors.
QB Tom Brady, Patriots
He is leading the most unstoppable force on the face of the planet — the Patriots’ offense. Yes, he was provided with an arsenal of receiving weapons the likes of which he’d never played with before. But he’s using them perfectly, spreading the ball around and keeping even Randy Moss happy. Brady’s TD-interception ratio of 33-4 is simply amazing, and his razor-sharp decision-making has sliced up defenses on a weekly basis.
RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
A rare combination of size and speed made Peterson a can’t-miss prospect, and he’s exceeding even the most lofty of expectations so far. He’s had several great games, including 361 total yards vs. the Bears and an NFL single-game rushing record of 296 yards vs. San Diego. He’s carrying an offense that operates without credible options at quarterback and wideout. Peterson is on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards, set in 1983.
RB Brian Westbrook, Eagles
Strictly as a runner, Westbrook would not have made the midseason all-star team, but he remains the NFL’s most valuable multi-purpose back. The Eagles’ offense was stuck in neutral vs. the Giants, when he sat out with an abdominal injury. Despite missing one game, he has produced 1,036 yards from scrimmage and is the catalyst of the Philly offense, running surprisingly strong between the tackles and possessing excellent hands and quickness in the open field to create whenever he touches the ball.
WR Randy Moss, Patriots
The fourth-round draft selection the Patriots gave up in exchange for Moss could be one of the best mid-round moves exercised in recent memory. Moss needs to have something to play for, and after stints ended badly in Minnesota and Oakland, he’s found inspiration in New England. He’s given the Patriots the true deep threat they’d been lacking recently, and Tom Brady’s making the most of it, connecting with Moss for 12 touchdowns.
WR Plaxico Burress, Giants
Hobbled by a bum ankle for most of the year, Burress rarely practiced in the first half of the season. That has hardly affected his output, as he’s been a consistent scoring machine. After a huge Week One (eight catches for 144 yards and three touchdowns), Burress went on to score a touchdown in the next five games. He’s been the only home-run hitter on the team and is making the most of every reception.
TE Antonio Gates, Chargers
In what has a been a great year for tight ends, Gates jumps above the crowd. In a national conference call, Phil Simms recently called him one of the five best players in football. While one league scout told us that Gates runs a wider variety of routes than any other tight end in the NFL, you’ve got to wonder how this guy continues to get open considering everyone in the stadium knows QB Philip Rivers is targeting him. In part, it’s due to his rare athleticism and nice play-calling by the staff.
C Kevin Mawae, Titans
Mawae instantly became a team leader upon his arrival in Tennessee last season, but he still doesn’t get the credit he deserves for helping guide what is an ascending offensive line. In his 14th year in the NFL, Mawae continues to play at a very high level and is a reason why the Titans can run on anyone, even though opponents are geared up to stop the rush because of Tennessee’s suspect passing attack.
OG Shawn Andrews, Eagles
One scout called Andrews the most dominant run blocker in the NFL. If the Eagles need a yard on 3rd-and-short, they run behind the 6-foot-4, 335-pound Andrews. He is partly responsible for RB Brian Westbrook’s 4.8-yards-per-rush average.
OG Logan Mankins, Patriots
Some NFL observers believe that Mankins is the most complete guard in the league in terms of both run blocking and pass blocking. He’s a classic throwback mauler who also is very smart. The Patriots’ line as a whole has done a fantastic job, but the interior has been especially strong.
OT Joe Thomas, Browns
After some struggles in Week One vs. the Steelers, the third overall pick of the 2007 draft has been rock-solid. For those wanting proof that the rookie is the real deal, watch tape of how he handled Jason Taylor in Week Six. Thomas has solidified what had been a trouble spot for years in Cleveland and appears to be the answer at left tackle for the long haul.
OT Chad Clifton, Packers
Called a “top-five pass blocker” by one veteran scout, Clifton has done a very good job of keeping Brett Favre upright. While run blocking is not a strength, Clifton is a dependable veteran on an unsung line that is contributing to a surprisingly potent passing attack.
DE Jared Allen, Chiefs
Allen missed the first two games because of suspension, but he has been a playmaking force since taking to the field. His return to action rejuvenated the entire Kansas City defense. Blessed with a knack for making big plays, Allen has racked up 8½ sacks, two forced fumbles and 29 tackles in six games. Playing out the last year of his contract, word is Allen could receive a big pay raise in 2008 — after being named the Chiefs’ franchise player.
DE Ty Warren, Patriots
Warren may not come up with a ton of signature, game-breaking plays, but he’s among the most consistent elite-level defenders in the NFL and does an excellent job of stuffing the run, occupying blockers and allowing the linebackers to pass-rush. With his excellent strength and power, this underrated talent serves as the anchor of the Patriots’ defensive line.
DT Kevin Williams, Vikings
Arguably the most athletic defensive tackle in the league, Williams is a big reason why the Vikings have produced more defensive touchdowns than any other team in the league over the last two years, bringing consistent pressure from the inside. His sack totals aren’t what they used to be, but he still has the ability to rush the passer.
DT Albert Haynesworth, Titans
Haynesworth is making news for all the right reasons this season. He served a five-game suspension for stomping on Cowboys OL Andre Gurode’s head during a game in 2006, but there’s been no trouble in ’07. He is the key to clogging the middle and stuffing the run on one of the NFL’s top run defenses. Haynesworth timed having his best campaign perfectly, as he’s scheduled for unrestricted free agency next March.
OLB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys
There are talent evaluators who believe that Ware is the best defensive player in the league. This is a guy who hardly comes off the field, playing 55-60 plays a game. He’s up as a linebacker in the 3-4 scheme on first and second downs, and he’s a down lineman in nickel situations. An electric pass rusher and an athletic coverage defender, Ware has racked up seven sacks and forced one fumble.
OLB Keith Bulluck, Titans
Bulluck is one-third of an outstanding Titans LB corps. He has benefited from fine play in front of him, as the defensive line has improved this season. Bulluck is best in coverage, where he makes a lot of plays. For evidence of this, check out his three-interception performance vs. the Saints in Week Three. His fluidity, ease of movement and grace make him stand out from others.
MLB Patrick Willis, 49ers
The No. 11 player drafted overall last spring, Willis has been a tackling machine for the Niners this season. Playing behind a below-average defensive line, Willis has recorded 83 tackles, one forced fumble and three pass breakups. He is on pace for an incredible 166 tackles this season. He has carried himself like a pro from the day he arrived and has made big strides under the direction of defensive coordinator Mike Singletary.
CB Asante Samuel, Patriots
After getting slapped with the franchise tag, which resulted in a lengthy contract holdout that kept him away from the team through most of the preseason, Samuel returned to fine form quickly. You never see him out of position, and he has great instincts and ball skills, which led to an NFL-high 10 picks in the regular season a year ago. He has four picks this season.
CB Champ Bailey, Broncos
Widely considered one of the NFL’s finest athletes and most skilled cornerbacks, Bailey is rarely tested by opponents anymore, which is why he isn’t netting the interceptions that he did a year ago. Because Bailey is so good in coverage, it’s big news around the league when he gets beat. In addition to outstanding pass-coverage skills, Bailey is one of the best-tackling corners in run support, something he takes pride in.
S Bob Sanders, Colts
The smallish Sanders plays with reckless abandon and is the best safety in the NFL vs. the run. He is playing more physical this year and is one of the most explosive hitters in the league. When the Colts shift to the nickel, they lose nothing against the ground attack, as Sanders is capable of acting as a third linebacker. Sanders is in the final year of his first pro contract, so he’s currently making himself a lot of money with his continued outstanding play.
S Sean Taylor, Redskins
Taylor is one of the most rangy and athletic coverage defenders from the safety position in the league. The presence of first-round rookie LaRon Landry allows Taylor, who is athletic enough to play cornerback, to roam more freely. Taylor is a playmaker who has already forced six turnovers this season — nearly half of the team’s total of 13. A year ago, Washington managed only 12 takeaways all season.
PK Kris Brown, Texans
He’s always had the strong leg, but now he’s added the all-important trait of consistency to his game, and that comes from his solid work ethic. Brown works hard at his craft, and it’s paying off, as Brown has nailed 18-of-20 field goals on the season. He’s 3-for-3 from 50 yards and beyond, including a late 57-yarder to beat the Dolphins in Week Five.
P Shane Lechler, Raiders
Lechler is averaging an AFC-best 50.3 yards in gross average and has parked 11 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Special teams have long been a sore spot in Oakland, but Lechler gives the fans a little something to smile about. He is often called upon to bail out a subpar offense, kicking from deep in his own territory.
PR Devin Hester, Bears
In just his second pro season, Hester has already been called one of the all-time great returners in NFL history. With eight punt and kickoff returns for touchdowns in 1½ pro seasons, he’s more than halfway to the all-time career record of 13, which took Brian Mitchell 14 seasons to reach. He is averaging 19.6 yards per punt return and has brought back a pair for touchdowns. It’s gotten to the point where opposing teams often do all they can to avoid kicking to him.
KR Leon Washington, Jets
With great burst and acceleration, Washington is a natural return man. He’s averaging 33.5 yards per kickoff and has returned three for touchdowns — two of which went for 98 yards. Washington has skills beyond the return game, though, as there are those who believe he’s the best running back on the club, ahead of Thomas Jones, who has yet to make a big impact after arriving via trade in the offseason.
Mike McCarthy, Packers
In just his second year at the helm in Green Bay, it appears McCarthy and his staff have advanced past the rebuilding phase that many observers had suggested the team was currently in. He’s overseeing a team that boasts a strong defense and runs an offense that has moved the ball effectively through the air without much help from the ground game. A little-known choice to take over the Packers a year ago, he has coached the Packers to a 7-1 record and to the top of the NFC North.
Nolan Nawrocki, Dan Arkush, Trent Modglin, Eric Edholm, Mike Wilkening, Matt Sohn and Dan Parr contributed to this story.
Do you agree or disagree
|11-06-2007, 02:01 PM||#2|
Join Date: Mar 2004
|11-06-2007, 02:09 PM||#3|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Oct 2005
Wes Welker is should be the 2nd WR. Sure they didn't want to have both Pats but the guys is as explosive as anyone once the ball is in his hands. I think stats wise he is only behind Moss and not by much has well.
Or TJ housmazilly.
Champ should not be on the list. Shouldn't go by past merits. This year he has not been enough of a factor to be considered on of the best 2 Corners in the 2007 season.
Last edited by jmz313; 11-06-2007 at 02:16 PM..
|11-06-2007, 02:24 PM||#5|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jun 2006
It's weird how much changes in just a year. I think it's a good list, but 2/3 of those guys wouldn't have been on it last year.
|11-06-2007, 02:36 PM||#7|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Leucadia CA
|11-06-2007, 03:26 PM||#8|
Vote Joe Mays to Pro Bowl
Join Date: Aug 2004
How does champ get on this team? McCarthy is the right choice for coach.
|11-06-2007, 05:00 PM||#9|
"Nemo Me Impune Lacessit"
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Northern California
The only problem I have on that list is that Aaron Kampman isn't on it. He's been fantastic this year.